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24Jan/114

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

 My makeshift home office: big comfy couch, coffee table that has been sealed so much it cannot stain, thick handmade blanket (not by me! I have very few knitting skills. My mom made it- for Tim. I regularly abduct it for my own uses).

Extra sharp cheddar toasted on two halves of an Ezekiel English Muffin + steam-in-the-microwave green beans- I cannot get over how good toasted cheese is.

Wine from Blair Vineyards with plenty of seats and glasses for sharing (we have many more than pictured!)

Relevant Magazine. I'm so excited to devour this issue cover to cover!

Your turn! What are some of your favorites these days?

12Aug/102

Today

My baby sister moved to the lucky state of Mississippi today. [I don't really think of her as being younger than me. "Baby" is one of my preferred terms of endearment. Baby sister, baby girl...] I said goodbye to her around 11:20 last night and then cried on the way home. The best man I know held my hand and looked up prices for roundtrip tickets. In the morning, he got me a cup of my favorite coffee in a well-played attempt to start my day well.

I wrote "help my students learn and BE PRESENT" on my list of tasks. I did, and I was. And with a cup of great coffee in my hand and just about two few hours of sleep, I had possibly the best day I've ever had with my students.

And then I left. I went straight from work to the best chocolate shop in town. I ordered a chocolate peanut butter cupcake [which I'd purposely saved room for] and forgot to take a picture because I was just enjoying my cupcake and more importantly, precious moments with my two beautiful friends [those women are fantastic mothers, have hearts of gold, fight for what's important, and aren't afraid to be honest about themselves].  

We walked down the street in the rain, and I just kind of loved that. Maybe it was the destination; maybe it was the company. We scoured our favorite everything-is-handmade store, talked with the super-sweet owner [whom we are all individually becoming friends with] about all kinds of things [including potlucks], and spent some money. I'd been planning on buying shoes or a dress or something for an upcoming wedding; I ended up with some definitively "me" jewelry [and the determination to put a cap on my spending...you know, after the bachelorette party I am attending tomorrow night, the wedding lunch I am putting together, and a few gifts I'd like to purchase...]

Today was simple and sweet, and I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful that I have a sister who I adore. I'm grateful that I have students who let me into their lives enough to allow me to be involved in their efforts to do something great for themselves and their children. I'm grateful that the best man I know is my husband and that I have friends who really, truly, deep-in-the-cracks-of-their-hearts care about me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to live each present moment.

25May/101

Consumer Supported Agriculture

Look what I brought home!It's my first CSA pick-up!

CSA= Consumer Supported Agriculture. Tim and I decided to buy a half share of vegetables, a full share of fruit, and a full share of herbs from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-operative this year. The cost of the share supports local family farms, and in return? We receive  flavorful, organic produce that has been picked the day before we receive it once a week.   We also receive an education about eating seasonal produce (including recipes!) and  how the weather affects food production.Seems like a good deal to me.

Our share this week1 bunch radishes, 1 bunch scallions, 1 bunch green kale,1 head red, green or flashy troutsback Romaine lettuce, 2 small heads green leaf lettuce,3 portabello mushrooms.

Right now,  I'm thinking that there is going to be a lot of grilled mushrooms, stirfries, kale chips, salads, and roasted radishes in my tummy in the coming week. I'm looking forward to it.

22Apr/103

Actions are Louder

 

Yum, yum, yum.

I had a date with a friend today at Haute Chocolate. Perfect. I am a proponent of local businesses (for many reasons- enough to make up an entirely separate post). And Haute Chocolate is so delicious.

But I've come across a chocolate hurdle lately. I cannot just buy it anymore. No matter how delicious looking. No matter how bad the PMS. 

I know that if I do, then it is quite possible that the money that I handed over in an effort to quell a common (and sometimes strong) craving may have just gone to help fund a company that doesn't pay its workers enough to live on. I know that somewhere, moms and dads are going home without enough food to feed their families. I know that those moms and dads are feeling hopeless when they see fat tears rolling down the cheeks of their beautiful children. I know that those moms and dads are feeling pretty desperate, so desperate that they will resort to things that we (the rich ones who can afford to eat the chocolate) might gasp or cluck are tongues at and say, "I can't believe you would do that to your own family." While we are funding that hopelessness and desperation.

You and me? We can afford things like chocolate and dates with friends. We're rich.  So, I'm thinking that the very least I can do is think about how my purchases are effecting people who help bring them to my mouth. The very least.

Which is why I can't just buy chocolate (or tea or coffee) any more. I have to know that the people who picked the beans were paid fairly. Sometimes that takes a quick scan for a "Fair Trade Certified" or "Equal Exchange" label. But I'll tell you that those labels are trademarked names; there are products that fall under fair trade classification but don't carry a label.

Sometimes all it takes is a little research. So today? I discovered that Chocolove (which I've seen carried at Target and Haute Chocolate) is a great globally-minded company.(You can read a thorough explanation of why here. It won't take long to read, but I'd rather you read it there. You'll get a better explanation.)

So I bought a little somethin'.

 

15Apr/106

A Time for Change, and a Time for Celebration

Reason number one that I like my job is my students. I have fallen in love with them, with learning their cultures, and with helping them get where they want to go. But usually, I don't get to see the end result of my efforts. My class is smack dab in the middle of a long road to education, testing, training, and opportunities for a higher quality of life for my students. It is difficult for them to maintain motivation. And then? It's difficult for me to maintain motivation.

I have wanted to be a mom as long as I can remember. But lately, every time my period comes, I am devastated. I realized a month or two ago that when I was feeling dissatisfied at work, I was hoping a pregnancy would satisfy me. I realized that way of thinking was wrong, wrong, wrong. It is not fair,right or loving to place so much on the shoulders of a baby.  I thought I had corrected that flawed way of thinking...but on Tuesday, I cried a whole lot more tears than an unwanted period at the age of almost-25-year-old warrants.

That is when I looked in the mirror and told myself that if I want things to be different, then I better be different. That is when I saw that I was approaching life as if fulfillment should come from my job right now. I didn't (and don't) feel completely right about that.  I started to feel like what I really need now are some tangible goals. Goals that can be crossed off.

If you're sitting there, saying , "but Sarah, you can find satisfaction in loving your husband, your family, your church, your neighbors, anyone," you are right. Those are some of the noblest of goals. BUT. For so long, my goals have rested on someone else's shoulders. I wanted to be a youth pastor's wife. I always want to learn to love. I want to be a mommy. I don't regret any of those goals. But right now, it is time for me to dream a little bigger.

It is time for me to live a little bigger. Keep those goals of letting love grow, but go deeper. Then let my day job be what it should be- loving, educating, equipping my students- and not more than that.

I thought about "what if?" What if I start reading books that will exercise my mind and help me be more well-rounded? What if I enroll in two masters classes this year and earn my level 2 teaching certificate? What if I stick to a 3-to-4-days-a-week yoga practice, maybe take a few private classes, and then study to be a yoga teacher? What if? Why not? Why don't I start a "what if? Why not?" list and then go for something on it. Go for more than one thing.

Yesterday was my 25th birthday. And I kicked off my new "what if?" path with a celebration. I celebrated my last 25 years, I celebrated the coming year, I celebrated those who love me. I celebrated life.

First? A yoga class with my favorite teacher at my favorite studio. I returned nice and sweaty. See?

Right after this photo was taken, my mom and I gabbed on the phone, after which I hauled myself into the shower. I was glad I did when I did because  I was able to grab a few more precious minutes with my husband. And then...

many precious minutes with my amazing father, who I missed very much. We ate at Good Eatz. And went to Hello, Bluebird, where I picked out this super-cute notebook

to document my ideas, goals, dreams, and plans for my next year. We may have spent a little extra time chatting with the fun and sweet owner, Alex.

Afterwards, I wandered over to Dosie Dough.

This coffee is both organic and fair trade. I talked with the store owner until the next customer came.

I still had a little money left on a gift card I received for my last birthday, so I treated myself to a facial. Nice and clean (and shiny)!

I knew my sister had finished her work day and already had time to decompress, so I invited her to go health-food-store exploring with me. I snacked on one of my favorites after I threw my sheets in the wash (I wanted to keep my skin clean!) while I waited for her reply.

I always have a good time when I'm with Katie. As a bonus, I ended up with a few treats (from her and also from Kimberton).

I munched on a few of my treats to fuel me for the last leg of my big celebration: a few hours with my church family.

I completely enjoyed my celebration. And now? I think I'm ready to start filling in that notebook.

4Apr/101

Late Night Update

I've been having so much fun over the past couple of days that I have not taken nearly enough pictures. Oops. That is a habit I am trying to break.

I started my Friday adventures with a 12 ounce Fair Trade Spring Revival Green Mountain Coffee. I thought it was a fitting flavor to kick off my new plan to reconnect with my own body (although I am hoping to get away from drinking coffee every morning.) I tried it black, and was quite pleased to find that I enjoyed it. Hooray! This means I can end the "to use splenda or not" debate that's been going on inside my head.

I stopped at my local farmers market for a bit then, headed to YOGA! Such a great class. I headed home, with enough time to shower and greet Alyssa- we had an Easter egg dying date!

During the set-up, I got hungry. In the spirit of my very recent efforts, I decided to wait until I was truly hungry to eat; I had also decided ahead of time that Friday would be the day to try my very first Green Monster. Up until then, I had interest in drinking them but was concerned that I wouldn't be satisfied with drinking a smoothie as opposed to chewing. The verdict? I loved it!

Can you spy my Green Monster? I just threw a sliced banana, a spoonful of ground flaxseed, a scoop of vanilla protein powder (it was difficult for me to find a protein powder that doesn't include sweeteners, but I did it!), a big handful of baby spinach, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk into the food processor for a couple of minutes. No real measurements, because I'm trying to get away from that kind of thinking. For my own sake.

The smoothie did a great job of holding me over until I could get a little something else to eat, which was convenient- we had Easter egg dying to do!

And then hula-hooping, push-up, and jumping jack contests, a walk, lots of games, races, a piggy-back ride, and exploration. We had a blast, but by the time Alyssa left, I was beat!

I have no more pictures to share. Lots of piecemeal thoughts, but no pictures. It's late, so I'm going to make the rest of this quick:

  • I think Tim have found a CSA we'd like to join, and I'm really excited about that.
  • Eventually, I'd like to make things like bread, tortillas, and sauce from scratch. From things I buy locally.
  • I want to prove to myself that I can support local agriculture and spend less on groceries than what I am spending now.
  • I enjoyed a lazy morning on Saturday. It's not typical of me to lay around, but I'm glad I got to spend some extra time with my husband.
  • Tim and I visited our friend Jaimie this morning, and it was wonderful. She is wonderful. I'm really revelling in the incredible people that are surrounding my life right now.
  • Tim has been prodding me to buy some new clothes. Today, with his encouragement, and also my sister's, I did. I took advantage of a 40% off sale at a Banana Republic Outlet, armed myself with a 15% coupon and set off to replace my worn-out clothing. And soak up several hours with the beautiful Katie.
  • I adore my husband.
  • I need to call my brother tomorrow. It has been too many weeks since our last conversation.
  • I have an amazing family, and I am so proud of them.
  • I need to get my butt (and the rest of me!) into bed.

Good night!

10Jan/102

For the Love of Life and Katie Jane

Katie, did you see that I wore a tiara on my wedding day?

It's true. You and I have more in common than you might realize.

Several weeks ago, I skipped my ordinary yoga class to visit Hello, Bluebird with
Danielle, Dayna, and Steph

Not only did I end up having a great time with 3 beautiful ladies that I love, but I also discovered this.

Some of my favorites?


And just because it reminds me so much of Katie